The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 30, 2007


Carlisle School makes state building list CCHS passed over

The Carlisle School made the list of building projects approved for partial state funding released by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Wednesday, November 28. Carlisle is listed as a "feasibility invitation," meaning the state plans to work with the school and town on designs for the proposed building project.

In October, MSBA Executive Director Katherine Craven gave some indication to the school that the Spalding Building's poor building rating by the state, verified by a visit the agency made to Carlisle last summer, could put the project on the priority list. The possibility of receiving state approval for the project caused the School Building Committee to put on hold its request for a special fall Town Meeting to request building design funds.

After filing a detailed Statement of Interest with the state this year and a long wait, making the list is good news for the School Building Committee, which has been advocating for a new building to replace Spalding for nearly a decade.

School Building Committee Chair Christy Barbee called the news "terrific" but cautioned that the new process will take time. "We have yet to hear directly from the MSBA, so we do not know what the next steps are, or how soon they'll be ready to sit down with us. Given that the MSBA wants to handle repair projects before feasibility studies like ours, I think we could still be looking at a process that takes more than three years."

In the new feasibility study process, the state agency will review enrollment projections, the existing Master Plan and all designs and give their input into the school project.

Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) was not on the list of candidates for state funds. Though the high school was rated in the poorest condition by the state, the same rating as the Carlisle School Spalding replacement project, the project was not on the funding list.

Concord's Thoreau Elementary School did make the list for potential state reimbursement. The school was completely rebuilt in 2006, after Concord voters approved local funds for the new school despite the four-year MSBA funding moratorium on new building projects in effect at the time.

Earlier this year the MSBA asked school districts with more than one building project to choose one as its top priority for state review. Concord prioritized the elementary school project, with CCHS considered a separate school district, as a separate priority.

Though Concord was pleased to learn the town will likely receive some reimbursement for Thoreau, the high school continues to be a priority, says Concord School Superintendent Brenda Finn. "We will continue to advocate for the high school with the MSBA and work to gather support to address the high school's facilities." She pointed out the high school is well aware that Concord and Carlisle voters want reassurance of MSBA support before proceeding with the high school new building project.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito